Seattle Aquarium - 49.4kW Solar PV Installation
The Seattle Aquarium's PV array is the largest aquarium solar installation on the West Coast. The project is a partnership between the Aquarium and Seattle City Light and is the second solar project in their Community Solar program. NW Wind & Solar, a division of SME Inc. of Seattle designed and installed the PV array on historic Pier 59.
247-PV modules and 10-string inverters, all Made in Washington, make this an all around local community project that qualifies for Washington’s highest production incentive rates available.
The 200 watt Cascade Series solar modules are manufactured by Silicon Energy in Marysville , as were the two SiE3840 and eight SiE5300 solar inverters. Silicon Energy produces the most durable glass on glass PV modules available making them an excellent application for this marine installation. Further, only marine grade hardware, conduit, wire management and stainless steel rooftop junction boxes were used to guarantee a corrosion resistant lifetime installation maximizing production for all stake holders.
The Seattle Aquarium's racking assembly required 350 stainless lag bolts that were two inches longer than the largest standard 12-inch bolts. The custom lag bolts were machined specifically for this project. NW Wind & Solar, to assure that the bolts would be perfectly perpendicular with the roof, created templates, or jigs, to guide our drill bits for exact placement every time and enhanced installation efficiency.
Minimum Import Relay?
The Seattle Aquarium is located on Seattle City Light's sensitive downtown grid network. Back-feeding onsite generation onto the utility grid on this project became prohibited. As a solution, NW Wind & Solar coordinated with Seattle City Light and designed a minimum import relay scheme. This first of its kind solution for solar PV in SCL's service territory monitors onsite load and if the electrical consumption reaches a minimum value an engineered relay communicates with a set of contactors to physically shut the PV system down and eliminate potential for Net Metering.
Viewing Energy Production
The energy production from the Aquarium’s solar system can be tracked in real time with a Deck Monitoring system (works in Chrome and IE anyway).
Click any image in this article for a full size display.
This month's article sponsor is